Biosciences at Streatham Campus: New students
A very warm welcome to Biosciences at the University of Exeter. Congratulations on securing your place here – we look forward to meeting you, and hope you will enjoy a rewarding and challenging academic experience as part of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
Please take time to look through the induction information on this page to prepare you for the start of term.
We will be updating this page regularly as new details of induction and welcome activities are released. We're also working within Government guidelines meaning information and activities may change as that guidance changes as well.
Please ensure you check back here frequently for updates, as well as your personal email account, new University of Exeter email account, and your My Timetable for the most up-to-date information from us. (Please note you need to register with the University and activate your IT account to access My Timetable.) If you have any questions about your induction or starting your studies, please contact your Info Point using the details on this page.
Your student experience during Covid-19
Find out about our plans to provide a safe studying and campus experience on our dedicated Coronavirus webpages.
New students guide
The new students guide includes everything you need to know about starting University, with a handy checklist of tasks to help you through your first term.
Welcome from Professor Richard Winsley
Richard is Associate Dean for Education in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
Welcome to Biosciences
A very warm welcome to Biosciences at the University of Exeter. On behalf of all the academic staff, post-docs, administrators and existing students, I hope that you will enjoy a rewarding and challenging academic experience as part of Biosciences, within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. You will be well supported and mentored by friendly and enthusiastic staff members, joining a thriving community of scholars with access to state-of-the-art facilities.
The University offers many opportunities to realise your potential in terms of academic attainment and personal growth. The activities of Freshers’ Week and beyond are designed to ease you into university life and to provide an introduction to the Department and your chosen degree programme. These first few weeks at university may be a little overwhelming; especially given the challenging times we currently face, but we will be here to help you to find your feet quickly.
I wish you every success in your studies and hope that this is the start of a rewarding and enjoyable time at the University of Exeter.
Professor James Wakefield - Head of Biosciences
During Welcome Week (14-20 September) you will have some scheduled induction meetings to get to know the department.
Please check your timetable in the iExeter app for the times and locations.
You can find a list of all academic staff in Biosciences here, including office locations and contact details.
Upon joining us at Exeter, you’ll be allocated your own Personal Tutor who’ll be your first point of contact if you have any queries or concerns about your overall progress and wellbeing. You’ll be invited to attend regular meetings with them throughout the academic year – sometimes individually, and sometimes as part of a group – and it’s important that you go along, even if only for a quick chat to confirm that all is well. You can also contact your Personal Tutor at any time by email.
The relationship you build with your tutor is an important one, not least because they will usually be the person who writes references for you when you start applying for jobs.
This short video outlines some of the benefits of our tutoring system:
Your degree is made up of a number of different short courses called ‘modules’. Some of these run across a single term (carrying 15 credits) and some across two terms (carrying 30 credits).
Each module is led by a named academic member of staff - the module convenor - although most are actually taught by a team of academics who share the lectures, practicals etc. If you have specific questions about an individual module, you should seek advice from the module convenor. Alternatively, if your question relates to a specific lecture or practical, you should seek advice from the member of academic staff leading that particular session. You can do so by email, via the module’s ELE page, or simply talking to them after the lecture or practical.
Each programme within our department (e.g. BSc Biochemistry, BSc Biological Sciences) is led by a Programme Director, whose job it is to oversee the running of the programme. In addition, the Director of Education has overall responsibility for all the programmes and modules within Biosciences.
Most of your contact with these individuals will be in their regular role as an academic member of staff teaching you on modules. However, if you encounter any significant difficulties with your studies, the Director of Education will be able to work with you to resolve these. The Director of Education within Biosciences is Dr Alan Brown.
The Peter Chalk Info Point, located within the Peter Chalk/Newman Buildings (number 17-18 on the Streatham Campus map, adjacent to the Geoffrey Pope building), is the place to go for any questions you may have about your life as an Exeter student. From queries about your course or timetable, to advice on wellbeing or mitigating circumstances, the team at the info point will give you the support you need quickly and efficiently.
The Peter Chalk Info team can provide information and advice on a number of services including:
- exams and assessments
- student welfare
- IT queries
- module changes and programme queries
- registration and study support
- submitting coursework through eBART & ELE/Turnitin
Contacting the Info Point
You can drop into the Info Point in person, or alternatively:
Phone: +44 (0)1392 723788
Peter Chalk Hub Induction
The Peter Chalk Hub is your first point of contact for queries about your course. This video induction guides you through information about your timetable, assignments and responsibilities as a student, and how we can support you.
Meet your Welfare Advisor: Tim Harris
In this video, Tim introduces the wellbeing and accessibility services available to support you. To contact these services, see the Wellbeing and accessibility section of this page.
Over the course of your studies with us, you will experience a wide range of learning environments and teaching activities. It’s important to realise that the specific teaching activities delivered within modules (either online or on campus) will be just a fraction of the total time that you’ll spend learning. Our expectation is that you are (or are becoming) an independent learner, and you should expect to take responsibility for much of your own learning while at Exeter.
Our academic staff are here to inspire and guide your exploration of the module content rather than closely dictate what you need to do to pass your assessments. Most of your work towards achieving the learning objectives of each module will be done during private study time, either alone or in groups, so you’ll need to develop good time management skills. This way of studying might be quite different to how you’ve learnt in the past, and you may find that it takes you a short time to adapt.
In a normal academic year, there would be a range of face-to-face on-campus teaching sessions including whole cohort lectures, small group tutorials and laboratory-based practicals. Things will look rather different in 2020/21 due to Covid-19 and the need for social distancing on campus. While we will offer face-to-face on-campus teaching where it is safe to do so, all of our degree programmes will also be making significant use of online teaching resources that can be accessed anytime, from anywhere.
For example, rather than attending whole cohort lectures on campus (attended by 400+ students), lecture content will be delivered in bite-sized blocks that will be available for you to access online at any time. This online content will typically provide you with an overview of a subject and form the basis for further reading and independent study.
Individual modules will also include timetabled sessions that will either be livestreamed online or delivered face-to-face on campus (provided it is safe to do so). The nature of these sessions will vary between modules, and also over the course of individual modules. They will often be based around a particular activity or set of online learning resources that you will have accessed prior to the session. We will use these timetabled sessions to further discuss certain topics with you, to gauge your knowledge and understanding, and to promote your critical thinking.
Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course here, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.
A range of online resources (including virtual laboratory simulations and bespoke videos) will be used to introduce you to safe laboratory working practices and a range of relevant techniques across the biosciences. However, Biosciences is obviously a practical subject, and these online resources cannot entirely replace the need for hands-on practical training in the laboratory.
We therefore aim to deliver all the core laboratory skills within hands-on laboratory sessions so that you become safe, confident and competent laboratory workers. This core laboratory training will take place over the course of the first half of term 1 within our core first year module, Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists.
Thereafter, we aim to deliver training in subject-specific laboratory techniques across all aspects of our curriculum. Depending on your degree programme, this is when you will gain hands-on experience in microbiology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, chemistry, plant biology and animal biology.
In addition, if you are on our BSc Biological Sciences programme, you will also explore our wonderful campus to gain hands-on training in ecology. These subject-specific practicals will primarily take place during term 3, after the summer examination period.
Each individual module will have an indicative reading list, which you will find detailed within the relevant module descriptor (see Stage 1 modules under Streatham Campus). In addition, academic staff on the module may suggest additional reading material during lectures, or via the module’s ELE page. You will be able to access the recommended reading through the university library.
Most of our Biosciences modules have course assessments (CAs) and an exam. The type of CA varies across modules, but in first year they are often multiple choice tests. The nature of the CA component will always be made clear to you at the start of any module.
Exams for Term 1 modules take place in early January, and exams for Term 2 modules take place in May. The relative contribution of CAs and exam to your final module mark is made clear within the module descriptor. All module descriptors can be found here.
First year exams are normally multiple choice, whilst exam questions in later years of study often require essays. Some exams will have short answer or problem-based questions. The marking criteria and the rubric (the instructions) for each examination paper will be displayed on the module’s ELE page in advance of the examination period.
First year marks do not count towards your final degree classification. However, your first year marks are considered when allocating places on final-year research projects. Therefore you should aim higher than to merely pass your first year!
Firstly, don't worry! You should register your medical circumstances with the Peter Chalk Info Point as soon as possible. Refer to the Info Point website here for further guidance. If your documentation is in order, it is likely that you will be asked to take a deferred assessment or examination at a later date. If you miss a January or May exam, the deferred examination takes place in the summer vacation (in August).
In addition to the services below, you can find a directory of all student services on the Current Students website.
If you have a disability or long-term health condition that will impact on your ability to study at University, the University’s AccessAbility Pathway can offer support that is flexible and tailored for your individual needs.
The AccessAbility team commonly work with students with:
- Specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
- Asperger Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Conditions
- Physical disabilities
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Long term medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes or arthritis
- Temporary injuries, e.g. a broken leg
- Mental health difficulties and one or more of the above health problems
You can find out more about the services offered and book an initial appointment via the AccessAbility Pathway webpages.
Wellbeing Services are here to help you get the most out of your time at University. If you experience difficulties with your mental health or wellbeing, we can offer support including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and advice on reasonable adjustments that may be available for your teaching and learning needs.
Your welfare advisor
Your Welfare Advisor for the Peter Chalk Hub is Tim Harris.
(Please note that, depending on the circumstances, you may speak to or meet with a different member of the Welfare Team).
If you have any queries or would like to speak to one of the team, we would be happy to hear from you at
Or to contact AccessAbility, email AccessAbility@exeter.ac.uk
For more information about the Welfare Advisors and how we can help, have a look at our welfare page.
The Biosciences Code of Conduct promotes mutual respect between individuals, and sets out what you can expect from Biosciences staff, as well as what Biosciences expects of you. It encourages both personal and academic professionalism, and is formed around the three important principles of Integrity, Civility and Trust.
Education requires commitment on the part of all those involved, and we expect you to prepare for, attend, and actively participate in all learning activities – whether online or on campus. In addition, a fundamental requirement of academic integrity is acknowledging the work of others (see ‘Plagiarism’ below).
Our community is founded on mutual respect, and acceptance of differences. We expect all members of our Biosciences community to respect the needs of others, and to consider those who may be vulnerable. If you encounter or witness harassment or discrimination, please contact the Director of Education.
Relationships between individuals within Biosciences are based on mutual respect, trust and an acceptance of appropriate levels of confidentiality. Bioscience staff are committed to supporting students and to addressing problems swiftly and sensitively. All students and staff will adhere to all safety instructions and codes of behaviour as required by the University regulations.
Plagiarism is defined as representing as your own the words or ideas of other people, whether published or not. In the university context it may take the form of copying text from a webpage, textbook, lecture handout or research article into an essay without acknowledging where the text came from. Alternatively, it may take the form of copying another student’s work and passing it off as your own.
You should always acknowledge direct quotes by naming the source (indeed, you will often receive credit for showing evidence of background reading) and you must never use other people’s results or copy their work without full attribution. Do not permit your work to be copied by others. The use of essay bank material for assessment purposes is not permitted under any circumstances.
Any case of cheating or plagiarism is liable to be given zero marks, and may be treated as a disciplinary offence by the University. You will learn more about plagiarism within our core first year module, Fundamental Principles for Bioscientists – including taking a quiz about academic honesty and plagiarism.
Would you like to learn about how an educational institution works and help Biosciences change for the better – whilst improving your CV in the process?
If so, you could consider becoming a course representative on the Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC). You will be given full training by the Students’ Guild, and your job will be to make yourself known to fellow students, to listen to student opinions and concerns, to communicate these at Biosciences SSLC meetings (attended by academics and student representatives), and to relay progress back to students. SSLC members also attend meetings of other College committees (e.g. Education Committee) where decisions about teaching and the treatment of students are made.
You can find out more about the SSLC role and volunteer to serve through the Students’ Guild website.
BioSoc is a fun, friendly and active society, run by students for students, with the aim of increasing both social and academic opportunities for biosciences students. BioSoc hosts a range of events and activities such as academic talks, biology-based trips and experiences, sporting events and themed socials. Find out more here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.